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Poll: How Would You Describe the Business Climate in Columbia?

What do these recent business openings and closings say about the overall state of commerce in Columbia?

Over the past few months some businesses have found success when opening shops in Columbia, while others have been forced to shut down.

These businesses were among those who closed their doors for good in recent months:

  • The Wine Cellar

The sign for this business still hangs above its former location in the Shipley's Grant shopping center. A Tale of Two Cities blog post titled ‘Big Bet Goes Bad’ reported both the store’s promising opening in November 2008 and its closing three years later. Former Wine Cellar owner Eric Stein said he closed his doors in late July. He still operates a similar establishment on Freetown Road called Decanter Fine Wines.

stretch back to April, but company officials denied the store was being considered for closure through the summer. Local food blog HowChow reported the closing of the Safeway in Long Reach when the news officially broke in early October. The store closed for good on Nov. 5 and a company spokesperson told the Howard County Times that the closing was based on performance. 

This restaurant featured Asian cuisine served buffet style. According to the restaurant’s website, it occupied a location on Stanford Boulevard for the past 14 years. HowChow reported the closing in early November and said the location will be the new home for Mango Grove, which specializes in vegetarian Indian food.

Many businesses have also recently decided to set up shop in Columbia: 

A new location of this discount clothing store opened in the Columbia Crossings shopping center on Dobbin Road on Oct. 4. According to a company press release, the 30,600-square-foot store employs about 60 full- and part-time employees.

With a new spin on those airplanes that carry banners across the skyline, one Columbia start-up has a unique plan to help businesses reach potential customers.

BootCamp Lights launched in June and offers 100 characters worth of space for $25, to be flown over busy highways or other crowded places.

The company is run by helicopter pilot Robert Schapiro. Company co-founder Kyle Benham told The Howard County Times on Nov. 28 that he hopes to reach consumers who may have become ‘jaded’ by common advertising strategies.

The Times also reported that Bootcamp Lights is the only company with a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Flight Standards District Office in Baltimore to operate the airborne ad campaign. 

Topper Person, 24, of Catonsville became the youngest Burger Joint franchise owner when he opened a location in Columbia last May.

He told The Baltimore Sun that he has also purchased the franchise rights for several locations throughout the area, including Bel Air and Towson.

The Burger Joint has locations across seven states, including Washington, D.C., and has plans to open locations in California and Tennessee as well. 

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